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5 world famous works of art that were never finished
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5 world famous works of art that were never finished

When composers, artists or writers begin to work on their works, they are sure that they will finish the job. Otherwise, why? But not always their aspirations are justified. Sometimes it happens that works of art for various reasons remain unfinished. However, some of these unfinished works have become world famous and have enjoyed worldwide fame and popularity for more than one century.

1. “Saint Jerome” by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci considered himself more an engineer than an artist. Perhaps that is why he has few finished paintings. For example, his painting “Saint Jerome”.

The canvas dates back to about 1480, and it depicts a repentant hermit-saint against a rocky landscape. The unfinished picture was most likely kept by da Vinci until his death, but it is unclear what happened next. The earliest mention of the painting dates back to the 19th century (in the will of the Swiss artist Angelika Kaufman). Then the work disappeared and was later acquired by Cardinal Joseph Fesh, Napoleon’s uncle. He learned that the picture was cut into five parts. After the restoration of all parts, Fesch again collected the picture, which was later acquired by Pope Pius IX and exhibited in the Vatican Pinakothek.

2. Symphony No. 8 in B minor. Franz Schubert
The Franz Schubert Symphony No. 8 in E Minor is also known as the Unfinished Symphony. It consists of two completed parts: Allegro moderato and Andante con moto, as well as later notes of the beginning of the score of the third part were found. In 1822, Schubert, who was only 25 years old, began to compose this eighth symphony. The following year, he received an honorary degree in the Graz Musical Society and gave a sketch of the symphony to his friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner. But Huttenbrenner did not tell anyone about the symphony and did not even try to play it, because he believed that it was not over. In 1865, Hüttenbrenner finally released the recordings of the Vienna Music Association, where the “Unfinished Symphony” was first performed. Unfortunately, Schubert did not wait for this. He died in 1828 at the age of 31.

3. Portrait of Riah Munch III. Gustav Klimt
It was the third and last picture in the Ria portraits series ordered by Klimt by the Munk family. After parting with her lover at the end of 1911, Ria committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest. Mother Ria commissioned Gustav Klimt to paint a portrait of her daughter.

The first two paintings did not like the family, and the third was not over. But the unfinished picture gave an idea of ​​the work methods of Klimt. In the portrait, Ria stood sideways and turned to face the viewer, smiling. The face and surrounding details are finished, but the dress and the floor were made only in the form of charcoal sketches. This picture makes it clear that Klimt was spontaneous and impulsive. He painted directly on the canvas without drawing sketches. The portrait went to the Lentos Museum, but was later returned to the heirs of Ria’s mother. The portrait was sold in 2010 for about $ 27.8 million.

4. “Kubla Khan.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote his 54-line, uncommitted poem “Kubla Khan” at the time, as he took the drug loudanum (opium anesthetic). The work was published in 1816. According to Coleridge himself, “Kubla Khan” came to him in a dream after taking the drugs. The poem was hundreds of lines long, but the poet was able to recall only a fragment of it after he woke up.

The poem tells of a man named Kubla Khan, who went to the land of Xanadu, where he found a dome made of ice, but not melting under the sun. The narrator also described the contrasts that he saw in Xanadu. In the end, critics decided that the poem describes the essence of the genius of man.

5. Portrait of George Washington. Gilbert stewart
Gilbert Stuart has created more than 100 portraits of US President George Washington. The first picture of Stuart, the famous Vogansky portrait, shows Washington to the waist. However, the most famous in the series is the Atheneum portrait, which was started in 1796 at the request of Washington’s wife Martha. This image can also be seen with slight modifications on a $ 1 USD note. The picture was not finished, and Stewart asked the president if he could help him with his future portraits. More than 75 replicas were made. The original unfinished paintings became known as Atheneum portraits, because they were acquired by the Boston Athenaeum library after the death of Stuart in 1828.

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